Friday, February 28, 2014

The Beauty of Ceramic Beads and the Jewelry Created with them.....

MaryAnn Carroll
My journey with bead making started with low-fire ceramic beads known as earthenware. Low-fire is when you ultimately (usually after the glazing stage) fire the beads to approximately 1850 (give or take) degrees in a kiln which is basically a specialized oven that will heat to certain temperatures. Marsha wrote a post that goes into much more detail about this process. If interested in learning more, click HERE.

Today, when I create ceramic beads, I usually am drawn to a mid-fire porcelain or I am fortunate enough to be able to use high fire clay and fire those beads in my husband Bill's wood-fire kiln. I will leave pictures of those for another post.

 I just wanted to share some work from a few ceramic artists. Following a sample from each, is an example of another piece of theirs used in a different artist's jewelry. Ceramic beads are fantastic in jewelry making as I hope you will see.

If you have not yet tried out ceramic beads, I do not think you will be disappointed. Navigate to shops by clicking on the links below each picture.

Beads by Karen Totten
Necklace by Martha Thomas
Pendant by Diana P.
Earrings by Sarajo Wentling
Pendant by Leslie Watt
Necklace by Debi
Pendant by Marsha Neal
Necklace by Rejetta Sellers
Bead by Natalie
Necklace by Karen G.
Pendant by Mary Harding
Necklace by Genea CK
Cabochon by Lisa Peters
Necklace by Carol Dean-Sharpe

These are just a few of the many artists who create ceramic beads, pendants and jewelry. I think you will agree that the beauty of ceramic is further brought out in the designs created.

Lastly, I want to thank-you for supporting artists who create handmade with handmade. I would also like to give a special thank-you to all of the members of LMAJ who keep this blog what it is. I've had many "events" along the way that have kept me from creating, as have some of our other members. It is because of the artists here that step in for each other to keep us moving.



Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ceramic Beads on Etsy and Berks Bead Bazaar

Just a really quick post today to show off some beautiful artist handmade ceramic beads!
All of these in the treasuries have been kiln fired in their various glazed finishes.
Ceramic Bead Collection Treasury

Ceramic Bead Collection 2
All ceramic beads (earthenware, stoneware or porcelain) must be fired in a kiln to be called "Ceramic".
However, not all ceramic beads need to be finished with the traditional high temperature (1750 to 2300 degree F. glaze temperature ranges).

There are lots of ceramic bead makers and artists that finish their ceramic work by painting with an air dry medium or something that can set a lower oven baking temperatures.
These painted layers are applied, wiped off, layered, dried, and often sealed.

Here is a beautiful example of a "cold glazed" Artist made kind of ceramic beads by 
Porcelain Beads (Cold Glazed) by GreyBirdStudio
More to come on glazing and firing techniques and care and use of beads with different finishes…

And this weekend, if you happen to be close to Reading, PA (USA) swing by the Berks Bead Bazaar Saturday and Sunday!
There are many artists, suppliers, and bead & jewelry educators selling kits!
Berks Bead Bazaar Website CLICK HERE.
Staci Louise (items pictured above) will be there!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Vintage Chic

Take a look at these new jewel arrivals in our ever popular "Estate Case".

 New Arrivals in the Estate Jewelry Case include this beautiful coral and 22k gold double strand necklace.  Perfect soft hue for the spring color palate. $1,695.

This lovely Estate diamond drop necklace is sure to  make you the queen of hearts.  Featured on our facebook page as well this piece retails for just $1,595.

Estate diamond 5 row band featuring 1.50 carats of diamond delight.  A real show stopper this comfortable wide band is priced at only $1,995.

This artfully executed antique diamond ring with intricate hand wrought filigree work has 10 old mine cut diamonds that have beautiful sparkle.  If it is an authentic vintage  look you are going after this ring fits the description.  A wonderful piece to own and enjoy.  $2,495.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

It May Be Hideous, But It's MINE - Karen McGovern

The studio is less important than other things, like the burning desire to paint. If you don't have this disease, you can't catch it from a nice studio. (Warren Criswell)
Never apologize for your studio. (Denise Bezanson)
At the moment I have about 7,256 projects awaiting my attention—including hosting our annual board meeting (housing 6 people for four days and preparing an intimate dinner for 12…), training new resident staff, hosting tours nearly every day, and….oh yeah, FILLING SOME JEWELRY DESIGN ORDERS.
While the board meeting covered many important topics, our baby bongo,
Delilah, was the focal of many gatherings.  She is a wonderful hostess.
The Rare Species Conservatory Foundation,
My life, like many of yours, is an exercise in controlled chaos.  For me, that means during extremely busy times, like now, working in my studio is measured in stolen minutes, not hours or days.  I’ve gotten so used to this schedule that I often create my best work standing over my bench, one eye on the clock, never even sitting down.
Do I LIKE this pace?  HELL NO! But, I live with it because creating art is 99.9% therapy for me helps me work through the insanity that is often my life.
One of the many by-products of this crazy lifestyle is what my bench becomes.  Right now, I can say with all honesty that my bench is as disorganized as it has ever been.  Believe me, that’s saying a lot.  Sure, my bench has been a mess before, but this…this is SPECIAL.  This is EPIC.  Not only that…I AM POSTING A PICTURE OF THE WASTELAND THAT IS MY WORK SPACE RIGHT NOW!  Yes, you may see many beads and wire coated in blue paint, because I spilled some about…oh…a month ago and never cleaned it up.  As for the rest of it—WHO THE HELL KNOWS?
We all go through periods like this where our work spaces take on the appearance of an exploded craft store, but I must say, I believe this is my personal best when it comes to a CRAPTASTIC display of mess.  I mean, just LOOK AT IT!
You want to know the amazing thing, though?  At this moment I have achieved something I never thought I would.  An unholy balance between my brain and the dump—I mean bench.  It hit me this past Saturday, when I realized I had to quickly complete an order for a client.  I stood at my bench and, with incredible ease, was able to finish the project (a cuff and ring combo) in under an hour.  It was like a dream-sequence.  My hands somehow knew where everything was, even though my tools and most of the components I needed were BURIED IN LAYERS OF JUNK.  I mean, it was magic!  Rivet flare tool?  Couldn’t see it if you paid me, but viola, it appeared in my hand.  I was able to find everything I needed so EASILY it totally freaked me out.  I swear I was in a fugue state or something.  At one point I actually asked myself, “Is this really happening?” 
I haven’t been back to the bench since then, absolutely no free time.  Later this week should be better, and I have several designs waiting to be finished, so I know I will have to face this soon.  And I know I have to bite the bullet and clean/organize in a really big way.  But, for now, I hope the magic continues and I can negotiate the land-fill as it sits.  I’ve never been one to require a totally clean and organized space to work, but this…well, I don’t think I have say anything more.   Spring cleaning, here I come, cursing and grumbling every unwilling step of the way. 
Ultimately, I realize that this space, in all it's messiness, is MINE.  My place to create, to play, to turn off the outside world and enter a new one where anything I imagine can be possible.  When I began this post it was to poke fun at myself, but in writing it I also realize that it's not about the quality of space in your studio, it's about tapping into the magic space in your head and heart.  That's where you truly create.   
Since I have bared my filthy soul so to speak with this photo, I dare you all to do the same and share photos of your work space at its worst.  And, let me know if you have found a way to work within the chaos.  Come on, let me see if you can top my mess!!!
NOTE:  The day after I wrote this piece I got an email from an online craft magazine (that will remain nameless) asking if I would submit photos of my studio for a story they are doing on artist work spaces.  The sample photos included showed dreamy rooms in pastel colors, bright windows with flowing white curtains and benches as clean as a deserted Caribbean white sand beach with boxes and jars of supplies beautifully labeled and displayed on hand-hewn shelving.  THERE WERE VASES OF FRESH-CUT FLOWERS FOR GOD’S SAKE.  Needless to say, after I finished LAUGHING LIKE A DERANGED HYENA I regretfully declined the invite.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Definitely a Struggle....

I am not quite sure why the thought of making something asymmetrical makes me tense. I have made many attempts only to find myself pulling the creation apart. When I make beads, however, I am very different. I can just make random cuts, sizes, shapes, etc. and enjoy it. I get lost in it.....

When it comes time to use them though, I find myself matching up the closest ones. Ughhhhh!

 Planning ahead for a design.... Yes, not perfectly symmetrical, but symmetrical nevertheless....

So, I have started to try and do something a little different..... not easy for me. Even writing about it causes some sort of chemical change in my body. My throat gets a little tight, my hands a little white and if I were the kind of person that sweats, I am sure it would be pouring down my face.

So, I've taken some baby steps...

These actually became a necklace..... yes, all in one necklace!

And a couple of bracelets with one different bead!

And, one of the things I find I have a little easier time with is finding beads whose colors blend together.

How are you at asymmetry? Are you like me? An asymmetry wannabe?

I love the look and plan to practice. If I could only let my mind go like I do when I make beads, I think it might be easier.


MaryAnn Carroll - could you tell?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Celebration of Ceramic Clay

'Ceramic Bead Collection' by MarshaNealStudio

Here are a bunch of handmade ceramic beads (Earthenware, Stoneware, Porcelain) that are finished in a variety of ways: all unique to their creator. Want to learn more about ceramic beads:

Pendant Maple Leaf Seed Pods...

Lentil Shape Hollow Focal Be...

Petite Crystal Heart Bead Se...

Pastel Teal Hearts Ceramic B...

Hand sculpted ceramic bird f...

Blossom- handmade aqua and o...

Handmade Ceramic Green Flora...

Porcelain Baby Bunny Amber w...

Word Bead: your word, custo...

Handmade porcelain hare Cabo...

Porcelain Oasis Blue Dragonf...

Blue Green White Face Barn O...

Handmade Porcelain Cabochon

Pink Porcelain Rose Charm

Clouds.... handmade ceramic ...

Ceramic charm pair tree of l...

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Beautiful works of art handmade from ceramic clay which has been fired to high temperatures in a ceramic kiln. Beauties to behold. I am honored to be among them.